York Mystery Plays 2012 - Photo: John Saunders

Frequently Asked Questions

How often are the York Mystery Plays performed?

The Guilds present the Plays on wagons every 4 years but the fixed-stage productions have been a little less frequent. Prior to the 2012 project, the previous time the full York Mystery Plays were staged in this way was in 2000. However there is now a movement to ensure these productions are staged every 4 years too, alternating with the wagons, so that the Mystery Plays will be seen every 2 years in York. The next staged production will take place in 2016 at York Minster. and the next cycle of Wagon Plays will take place in 2018. The Trust is also keen to support performances of individual plays undertaken by groups within the city.

Why are they called Mystery Plays?

Mystery is used in regards to a religious truth or rite – though it can also be traced to misterium which means craft, a link to the Guilds who traditionally perform them. In which case it is a play on words, connecting the two concepts together.

How do I get involved?

Each individual production recruits its own group of volunteers. The scale of the production will affect how many people are required and what roles need to be carried out. There is always scope for volunteers to take part as actors, musicians, backstage crew, costume creators, set makers, wagon pushers – and more! For future productions, keep an eye on this website and we’ll let you have the info when it becomes available

Are York Mystery Plays the only Mystery Plays?

No but they are regarded as some of the most complete. There are various others around the country. Details of their websites can be found on our Mystery Plays links page.

Has anyone famous appeared in York Mystery Plays?

Yes, a number of familiar faces have appeared in York Mystery Plays. Some were still to become stars whereas others were already household names. These have included: Robson Green, Dame Judi Dench, Ray Stevenson, Ferdinand Kingsley, Graeme Hawley, David Bradley, Christopher Timothy and Simon Ward.

Is there a DVD of the 2014 Waggon Play production?

Yes, a DVD of the 2014 Mystery Plays has been made in collaboration with KAPTURE who specialise in shooting the performing arts. For full details head to the York Mystery Plays 2014 website.